Every Wednesday afternoon we load up our tri-shaw, which we have transformed into the “Happy Heart Cart” and go room to room in our independent apartments with a Mobile Farmer’s Market! All departments have worked together to make this a successful activity for our residents. The idea originally came from our Director of Nursing, and a CNA accompanies me each week to assist with engaging residents and passing out the produce. Our marketing department designed and decorated the trishaw, and Food Services has been amazing in ordering and stocking our produce items. We sell a variety of fruit, vegetables, grains and coffee for a minimal price. This provides our independent residents with a safe way to purchase fresh produce, minimizing their need to go out into the community at this time. Staff has a really good time with the theme and we always dress in some version of a farmer or gardener. Our RN Apartment Supervisor assisted me with the first time the cart was used and the residents had never seen her in a costume- there were lots of surprised gasps and giggles. It was a real treat for them to see their trusted RN participating in the activity and having fun! As we make our way through the hallways of all four floors, we play our Farmer’s Market playlist from our IPhone, which is created of songs about gardening, the country, flowers and the weather. Residents truly look forward to this activity and are often waiting in their doorways as our cart is getting off of the elevator. Residents are calling out, “We are waiting for you!” “Tell me you have blueberries left!” and “YAY! They’re here!”. Residents are clapping and dancing to the music in their doorways and waving to their neighbors across the hallways. To keep the process as simple as possible, we use a spreadsheet each week to track who purchases what items, and the total is added to their monthly bill. The activity continues to grow, and we typically need to restock the cart after serving just one floor! While the residents in our Independent Apartments do not typically receive structured activity programming, we have felt the need to adjust our offerings during this time. This activity provides socialization and even more importantly, another option- a choice for our residents to safely fulfill their dietary needs during the pandemic. The Mobile Farmer’s Market is strengthening the rapport between residents and staff and bringing joy during a time of uncertainty. I encourage all Activity Professionals to keep creating new and different activities to meet the changing needs of our residents during the pandemic. Our creativity and ingenuity are the perfect combination to combat the hardships that CoVid 19 has brought to our facilities and homes.
A very big part of empathy infused improv as a communication technique with those we work and care for is introspection. Our desire, willingness and ability to look beyond the situation at hand and consider how we could possibly be a part of results we see and scrutinize. As we ponder our own interactions and […]
In this COVID-19 time, seniors are encouraged to self-isolate to minimize chances of coronavirus exposure. Groups that care for seniors, such as retirement communities in New Jersey, have been trying to keep their charges safe. However, such drastic measures have led more of them to sink into depression and loneliness. Despite the challenge of maintaining […]
You don’t have to be Julie Andrews or Oprah to have favorite things, and you certainly do not need to be a celebrity to bring those favorite things to the attention of others. For months you have been reading blogs about communication and empathy and improv and how all of these concepts mesh together when […]
By Paul P. Falkowski Ph.D. This article is the second in a series of articles I am writing to not only talk about what goes into producing a viable and sustainable volunteer workforce but also to encourage you to explore new and creative ways nursing home volunteers can support you and the people living in […]
By Cathy Braxton, Educator and Owner of Improv4Caregivers I recently had the pleasure of attending a refreshing psychology class at Purdue University. I had to refrain from raising my hand to participate, answer the questions and prompt new ideas as the professor presented the material. On this particular day we underwent an overview of the […]
Today, more than 45,000 people in the U.S. are receiving their Social Security benefits. While some retirees prefer to maintain part-time jobs that don’t conflict with their benefits or retirement plans, many others are uncertain about what to do with all the time suddenly thrust in their lap. While many older adults dream about the […]